Syncretism

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Syncretism (English pronunciation: /ˈsɪŋkɹətɪzm̩/) is the attempt to reconcile contrary beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining," but see below for the origin of the word. Syncretism may involve attempts to merge and analogise several originally discrete traditions, especially in the theology and mythology of religion, and thus assert an underlying unity allowing for an inclusive approach to other faiths.

Syncretism also occurs commonly in expressions of arts and culture (see eclecticism) as well as politics (see syncretic politics).

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Nomenclature, orthography and etymology

The Oxford English Dictionary first attests the word syncretism in English in 1618. It derives from modern Latin syncretismus, drawing on Greek συγκριτισμός (synkretismos), meaning "Cretan federation."

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